TAMPA — The good news for the Storm is that Tim McGill is getting in better shape. And that's bad news for the rest of the league.
After getting off to a quiet start this season as the Storm began 2-3, the nose guard continued his strong play in Saturday's 50-48 win against Oklahoma City. Coach Tim Marcum said a good deal of his progress can be traced to his conditioning.
"He's getting his legs under him and getting in better shape," Marcum said. "He's got a fire lit under him recently."
McGill had 11 pressures in a win against Orlando on May 28 and 15 against Oklahoma City. But his most important penetration against Oklahoma City came when the 6-foot-2, 345-pounder stood up the center, causing a poor exchange with quarterback Tommy Grady and a fumble. The ball was kicked through the end zone for a safety, giving the Storm (5-3) the lead for good at 43-42 and helping it to its third straight win. "That play only happens because of No. 8 (McGill)," Marcum said.
Report Card: At the midway point of the season, Marcum said he would grade the Storm at "a B or maybe a high C."
"Do I think this team is good enough to win a championship? Absolutely," Marcum said. "We just need to eliminate the silly mistakes and quit beating ourselves. But we're getting better."
Standings: The Storm is in second place in the American Conference's South Division, behind Jacksonville (7-2). It is ranked sixth this week in the league coaches poll.
Brutley injured: Daryon Brutley, who was named league's defensive player of the week last week for his play against Orlando, sustained a thigh injury in a nasty collision with the end zone wall against Oklahoma City. Brutley played sparingly in the second half, but Marcum said he will play against Alabama on Friday.
It's tricky: The Storm used a gadget play against Oklahoma City that was made famous in Boise State's upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Quarterback Brett Dietz faked a pass and reached behind his back to hand the ball off to Terrence Royal, who scored the eventual winning touchdown.
"We call that play Boise," Marcum said. "I think we caught them offguard a little."
Game moved: The Alabama game was moved from Saturday to Friday at 8 p.m. so it could be aired as the NFL Network's game of the week. Four of the Storm's next five games will be on the NFL Network.